COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Senior guard LaShay Page scored 20 points to lead South Carolina to a 87-71 victory over Morgan State on Friday.
“My dribble-drive has been working for me,” said Page. “I’ve really been struggling from 3, and obviously getting to the free-throw line six times tonight helped also.”
Page was 2-of-6 from 3-point range but made all six of his free throws and also had five rebounds.
He was one of five Gamecocks in double figures.
South Carolina shot 52.8 percent from the field and outrebounded Morgan State 55-22.
The teams committed 20 turnovers each.
First-year South Carolina coach Frank Martin was not pleased with his team’s effort.
“I’m embarrassed by our performance,” Martin said. “I’m embarrassed that people paid their money and gave up their time to come watch that. We’ve been real good for about 17 days, but we probably could have had a kindergarten class perform with more enthusiasm in practice than we had Thursday, and I’m a firm believer in that you play like you practice.”
Justin Black led Morgan State (1-2) with 20 points.
“First of all, Frank Martin,” Morgan State coach Todd Bozeman said. “I love Frank Martin. He coaches hard, and his teams play hard. I know they didn’t shoot particularly well last game, but they responded and shot the ball well. They played hard, had rebounders and really played tough.”
Morgan State got off to a fast start and led by as many as seven points in the first half until the Gamecocks came back and took the lead 22-20 with 9:10 to play on a layup by Eric Smith.
It proved to be the only lead change of the game.
South Carolina (2-0) led by as many as 11 points in the first half and by a 45-41 margin at halftime.
The Bears entered Friday night’s game coming off back-to-back losses to Old Dominion and Holy Cross after opening the season with a 71-59 victory over Texas-San Antonio.
South Carolina had beaten Milwaukee 82-75 in overtime to open the season.
The Gamecocks were playing without starting forward Michael Carrera, who missed the game because of a concussion, who was injured in practice on Wednesday.
South Carolina started Brenton Williams in place of Carrera.
“He got whacked in the head pretty good,” Martin said. “When he’s good to go, and the doctors say he’s good to go, we’ll unleash him. We had to fight him to keep him off the court today.”
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)